There was a log nearby. Brown and I sat down to listen. Listening to yourself is always strange. Its a combination of embarrasment, fascination, and pride,(if you are doing ok). This was a different AC than I was now. He was excited about the bible and the things of God. He had a passion for what he was doing. He was not beat-down or depressed, he was happy and funny.
He was talking about how to keep your relationship with God fresh and new. He talked about putting aside things that kept you from God, about prayer time, and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life when he was allowed to reign.
There was a girl in the front near the left. She was a thin, pale, waif-like creature, who reminded me of Angela. There was a look about her that is hard to explain. She looked like an animal that had been beaten, but was hoping that they would find some kindness, somewhere. After the lesson ended, she lingered around, shyly asked the younger AC a couple of questions about the lesson, then left quickly with her friends.
"There's more to see here, do you want to stay around for a while?", Brown asked.
"Yeah...This was a good time."
We followed AC through the rest of his day. He chaperoned at the pool. He worked in the cafeteria, and when they were gone at crafts he snuck away to a little travel trailer where the counselors went for quiet time. Inside was an air conditioner and a refrigerator with a 12 pack of Cherry 7-Up, it was a blissful relief from the Oklahoma heat and humidity. He started studying his bible and writing down some notes in a notebook.
"Do you know what he is getting ready for?"
"He's speaking at the service tonight. It's really the first time for him to preach."
"Is he nervous?"
"Petrified. He's somewhere between wishing he could crawl under a rock with embarrasment, and yet feeling like its Christmas Eve and he has a huge present under the tree that he can't wait to open."
"Why is he so nervous?"
"Besides this being the first time, he stutters when he gets nervous. He turns red. He still has some self-esteem issues. He's still so young. He still feels like a kid, even though he's almost 20."
"Let's leave him alone, we'll see him tonight."
"Hold up, let me test something."
I opened the fridge, took out 2 of the Cherry 7-up's and a cow tail candy stick. I let the door make a sound, he didn't even flinch. I walked out of the trailer and popped the lid and felt very smug. Brown just shook his head, but he was still grinning.
Immediately, I remembered a feeling from those 20 years ago. I remembered thinking, "Where did all the pop go? I thought I had more!"
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine